with a careless hand, d'une main distraite, and kept staring vaguely about him. Irina was sitting on a sofa between Prince Kokó and Madame H., once a celebrated beauty and wit, who had long ago become a repulsive old crone, with the odour of sanctity and evaporated sinfulness about her. On catching sight of Litvinov, Irina blushed and got up, and when he went up to her, she pressed his hand warmly. She was wearing a dress of black crépon, relieved by a few inconspicuous gold ornaments; her shoulders were a dead white, while her face, pale too, under the momentary flood of crimson overspreading it, was breathing with the triumph of beauty, and not of beauty alone; a hidden, almost ironical happiness was shining in her half-closed eyes, and quivering about her lips and nostrils. . . .
Ratmirov approached Litvinov and after exchanging with him his customary civilities, unaccompanied however by his customary playfulness, he presented him to two or three ladles: the ancient ruin, the Queen of the Wasps, Countess Liza . . . they gave him a rather gracious reception. Litvinov did not belong to their set; but he was good-looking, extremely so, indeed, and the expressive features of his youthful face awakened their interest. Only he did not know how to fasten that interest upon him-